30th March, 2012 - Posted by Elliot Slater - Comments Off
The tough as teak Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Synchronised now shares favouritism with Prince de Beauchene at 8/1 with a couple of firms for the forthcoming John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree on April 14, even though confirmation of his participation in ‘the world’s greatest steeplechase’ has yet to come from trainer Jonjo O’Neill, writes Elliot Slater.
It is quite understandable that the Jackdaws Castle-based Irishman is in no hurry to commit the JP McManus-owned star to the Liverpool marathon until he is absolutely sure that the gelding has recovered from a tough race at Cheltenham, a contest that for the first circuit he appeared no more than even money to complete, never mind come through under AP McCoy and win at the main expense of The Giant Bolster and the defending champion, Long Run. People looking at the 2012 ante-post Grand National odds should remember he may not even line up at the race.
That he did go on to score by four-and-a-half-lengths speaks volumes for the seemingly limitless stamina of the son of Saddler’s Wells who has always appeared more likely to be an Aintree horse than a Cheltenham hero, having already pocketed both the Coral Welsh Grand National and the Midlands Grand National, both on very testing ground. After surprising many judges with his win in the Grade 1 Lexus Chase at Leopardstown in December, O’Neill began to believe that Synchronised would not be out of place in the Gold Cup, and now having won that blue riband event he is technically as much as a stone ‘well in’ at Aintree despite having to carry top weight of 11st 10lbs.
Having also proven that he can handle a decent surface, many good judges believe that Synchronised could become the first Gold Cup winner since the mighty Golden Miller in 1934 to complete the legendary double. Although some firms err on the side of caution in offering just 8/1 about McCoy’s mount, 12/1 is still available in a few places, but that price will surely be a distant memory if he is confirmed a definite runner for the great race.